5 Things Oregon: Q&A w/Rep. Prusak, Registration now open, Preliminary rate decisions

While DJ is out trying to get in a well-deserved vacation, I’ll be bringing you this edition of 5 Things We’re Watching. I’m the managing editor here at State of Reform where I have my eye on health care and health policy in Oregon and a number of other states.

In this edition of 5 Things, we feature conversations with lawmakers and stakeholders on the policies, themes, and discussions that took place during the 2021 Legislative Session that ended just a few short weeks ago.

Feel free to email me any feedback or tips on what you think we should be covering!


Emily Boerger
State of Reform

1. Q&A: Rep. Prusak reflects on session

In this Q&A, Rep. Rachel Prusak, Chair of the House Committee on Health Care, reflects on the health care themes of session and her biggest legislative wins. “We started with over 150 bills referred to the committee and I prioritized as much as possible, using the themes equity, access, cost, and public health. I think that we did a really good job.”

She says the biggest bills were the Cover All People bill, the creation of a drug affordability board, telehealth legislation, and behavioral health investments. Prusak says she’s disappointed her legislation that aimed to increase access to primary care didn’t make out of Ways and Means, but she says she’ll bring the bill back in February. During the interim Prusak says she’ll focus on supporting community levels of care.

2. Early Bird Registration open

Early Bird Registration is now open for the 2021 Oregon State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up on October 26th! It’ll be a hybrid event, with an in-person option and an integrated virtual experience, so folks can choose how best to participate based on their comfort level.

Our Convening Panel will meet in the coming weeks to talk though the issues and topics that will be teed up for discussion at the event. So, if you have any topics, speakers, or content ideas, we would love to hear them. And, if you already know that you want to join us in October, be sure to take advantage of the discounted price and register today!


3. Hultberg says major policy decisions should have been avoided in 2021

Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of OAHHS, says the legislature should have avoided making major policy decisions this year due to the limited stakeholder engagement allowed during the pandemic. “The reality of [limited engagement] meant that there wasn’t sufficient public and stakeholder involvement in the process and that dynamic did not lead to good public policy.”

She specifically points to HB 2362 – the bill requiring OHA approval for mergers and acquisitions – as policy that she believes will have unintended consequences. Hultberg says, however, she’s encouraged by lawmakers’ investments into behavioral health, but that the “jury is out” on if these investments will truly address the behavioral health problems within Oregon’s health system.

4. DCBS releases preliminary rate decisions

DCBS recently released the state’s preliminary 2022 rate decisions for individual and small employer health insurance plans. In the individual market, six insurers filed an average 1.8% rate increase ranging from a 4.9% increase proposed by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon to a 0.9% decrease proposed by Providence Health Plan. For all six insurers, the preliminary rate decision by the department matches their rate requests.

For the small group market, 10 companies requested an average 1.5% rate increase – ranging from a 3.3% decrease to a 5.2% increase. A full breakdown of the 2022 preliminary rates decisions and carriers in each county is available here. Final rate decisions are expected in early August.


5. Video: Anthony Davis, HMA

Anthony Davis is the managing director of accreditation services at Health Management Associates. In this video, Davis discusses the evolving significance of quality and member experience data in Medicare and Medicaid.

Davis says there has been a shift toward utilizing real-time member experience data, rather than once-a-year surveys, to better evaluate quality. “Can you use your encounter system to trigger surveys out to your members in real time so that you can then start getting real program evaluation analytics on member experience into your organization? Partnerships like that between payers, providers, and even states starting to get more involved…I would say that is sort of this big evolutionary process that’s really starting to take hold right now.”